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This Week in Defense

News/Business. Guests from the Defense Department, Congress and the defense industry.

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Pentagon 5, Afghanistan 5, Washington 4, Us 4, U.s. 4, Vago 3, America 3, Sean Mcfarland 2, Vago Muradian 2, China 2, Jim 2, Jim Michaels 1, Roberts 1, Norbert 1, Leiper 1, Cvs Or Wal-mart 1, Mark Gunzinger 1, United States 1, Baghdad 1, Ramadi 1,
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  CBS    This Week in Defense    News/Business. Guests from the Defense  
   Department, Congress and the defense industry.  

    September 12, 2010
    11:00 - 11:30am EDT  

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[ male announcer ] it's luxury with fire in its veins. bold. daring. capable of moving your soul. ♪ and that's even before you drop your foot on the pedal. ♪ the new 2011 cts coupe from cadillac. the new standard of the world. june a look at the pentagon's long remark strike systems debate and wa
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good morning and welcome to "this week in defense news." i'm vago muradian. soaring pay and benefit costs are squeezing pentagon buckets but what will it take to get service to agree to reform? we'll talk to the co-chairman of the military coalition i a united group of military associations. plus the inside story of how a single army unit stablized one every most dangerous sights in iraq. but first roberts gates will soon decide what long range strike systems the nation needs, including the fate of a new bomber, new cruise missiles in a conventional ballistic missile able to hit targets 7,000 miles away in 20 minutes. what mix of capabilities should gates pick? here to explain the debate is mark gunzinger, who wrote sustaining america's strategic advantage in long range, a report to be released tuesday which recommends ways to organize the long range strike portfolio before joining in january mark served at the deputy distant secretary of defense for transformation and resources. mark, welcome back to the show.
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>> morning, vago. pleased to be here. >> what condition is the u.s. long range strike system -- what is the condition of that system? >> to tell you the truth, the top of our report is about sustaining our strategic advantage in long range strike for the next 30 years. the fact of the matter is we have some aging systems that are increasingly less capable against the kinds of defenses that we see our military competitors developing. >> for example? >> for example, we have about 162 bombers, about 140 of those are what we call combat coded, able to go to war. of those, only about 12 or 13 of our b-2's are ready at any given oint to penetrate air defenses. those b-2's plus handful of cruise missiles and standsoff weapons constitute what this nation has for striking deep into adversary countries -- that are fielding some pretty
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advanced integrated air defense systems. >> most of our fascination is with short range systems, obviously joint strike fighter is the leading program the military will be buying to revitalize the tack tactical air forces. what forces will the future need for the future? >> we think csba has a number of people inside and outside the defense at the most pressing capability shortfall is in a penetrating strike capability, which includes both standoff weapons and penetrating platforms that can survive against advanced air defenses to penetrate, locate targets that are increasingly mobile and heightened and buried and deeper into potential adversaries' countries. >> in an age -- there's some people who argue, for example, that the general is a very strong advocate of standoff strike missile and hypersonic missiles. in a age of hypersonic missiles, why is it important
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to have a bomber? >> standoff weapons are -- it's not either or question. we need both the penetrating capability and standoff and impact capability. standoff weapons can kick down the door to allow penetrators to our vive through air defenses to reach their targets. on the other hand, standoff weapons are good against a small part of the target. primarily against fixed after targets, not mobile targets. targets that can pick up and move within five minutes. and even flies 20 minutes or some sonic missile can fly an hour or longer, those targets may not be there. >> do you ultimately need a man in the loop given some of the systems that are adversaries are developing are designed to break the links with unmanned aircraft, for example? >> that's a key point in our report. we propose a new framework, a new lens, for looking at future strike capabilities. and we think that with the kinds of capabilities and systems being developed by
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china and other countries to interdict our commanding control capabilities, we're going to need future systems that are capable of independent operations. they're not dependent on a man backed in the control room and -- that doesn't mean that we don't want unmanned capabilities. in fact, unmanned decks is a very good idea because it has potential to increase the range and persistence of strike off carrier decks. >> and also gives a new relevance to the aircraft carrier when people are are looking at it as being a short legged platform. what is the importance of the bomber in the context of the nuclear review given the leading use of the u.s. bombers will be conventional strike? >> yes. the nuclear posh review has validated the nuclear trial. all three legs of the trial. c launch missiles and the bomber leg. but the fact of the matter is the current defense program of record, if it does not change,
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means that the air leg of the nuclear triad will age out and go away. today it consists of b-52's, cruise missiles and that small number of b-2's which can penetrate. over time we believe the b-2's will follow the same path as the b-1 and b-52, become a standoff platform. and they've said they have concerns about the air launch cruise missile and its maintainability over time. so when those systems are no longer able to penetrate and cannot be sustained, we will lose our everything triad. >> exactly. everybody though wants to obviously reduce the cost, the b-2 is very expensive because it was high-end, some accused of being exquisite. but the mission is an extremely demanding mission. how do you not end up with something that is really have to be a lone wolf that has to operate by itself? >> operating as part of a
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family of systems does not mean that we develop a denatured bomber. that is not capable of independent operations. what we suggest in our report is a way to reduce the overall costs of the platform, the sticker shock if you will, is to buy capability over time. it's important we get the payload right, the range right, and the degree of stealthiness correct. we can after that plan to add additional capabilities, stretching the costs out over time by trying to develop an exquisite system right off the bat that we may not be able to afford. >> the plane was -- upgrade sod many times that it in some respects doesn't resemble the original aircraft. how long before it we have leiper sonic missiles that can attack distant targets quickly? >> i believe the air force is working very hard on what they're calling their conventional strike missile, which combines a hyper some ic body that could carry a payload of a couple thousand pounds
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with a miniature rocket that could achieve or reach a target within the time frame. you said it would be a true prompt capability and i believe flies out around 2013. that doesn't mean it will be operational in 2013. it will be years. but a key point, we're talking about prompt goal strike, these things will be incredibly expensive. and it will probably be a very small inventory of 10, 20, 30, definitely less than a hundred, that department of defense will choose to go with. and there will be used or most useful against very high valued targets. >> one in 15 or so seconds left, the bush administration wanted to modify trident missiles to fire warheads as many there a danger that can be construed as a atomic weapon and cause others problems? cause more problems than it a solve? >> yes, and secretary gates mentioned that, and that is part of the policy debate right now. do we want to develop missiles
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such as a hypersonic cruise vehicle with a different flight path than a ballistic missile launched from the united states, ssbm? >> sir, thank you very much. you're always welcome
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>> ask any servings leader in washington where the big money is in defense and they'll tell you it's in the people. soaring personnel and health care costs must be brought under control according to most at dod. but with nearly from associations representing six million retired military members and families, political opposition is fierce. norbert rain is a retired admiral now president of the military officers association of america, one of largest military organizations which co- chairs the military coalition and alliance of associations with left in washington welcome to the show. >> thank you, vago. thank you for having me. >> see you were a former chief of naval personnel. so you're ideally suited to tack this will first question which is, how would you go about restructuring the military personnel system? >> well, very, very carefully. i just came back from iraq from my fourth trip in a row there, fourth in a trip.
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and we have another greatest generation in uniform but we have a generation that has been worn out more than any other group that i've ever seen, not only the members but their families. we've seen the statistics, the typical army person is lucky if they're under the same roof as their family for eight out of 36 months. i'm not sure how long we can continue that, so we have to be very careful not to get the cart ahead of the horse, vago. >> so then the concern is to make sure that whatever changes we make obviously are in a structure that doesn't undermine their contribution and the price they've already paid? >> absolutely. i mean, enormous price. and they're going to be paying it for many more years. >> but the fundamental question that everybody is ranking with is, increasingly pentagon officials are saying the personnel benefit costs are eating their lunch. a is that a fair assessment? b, what are some of the things that can be done to control that? whether it's pay raise limits or retirement benefit changes, or health care? >> right.
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i think it's a very unfortunate choice of words and language when you look at the -- the numerator and denominator. yes, we're paying the troops more, but we've never demanded more of them and their families some again, choice of words is very careful when you have a war going on and you have a stress like it is. so what we have to do is really due due diligence on this. this nation is used to doing these things in cycles and breaking force, as you know. and we can't afford to do that while we're at war some we're going to -- salute secretary gates, he's a great wartime secretary, and we applaud like all taxpayers at the military association that we want the efficiencies, whether in weapons systems or people, because to win this war and stay strong we need our left arm, our weapons systems and our right arm, the only weapon systems that that's never let this nation down, its men and women in uniform. so let's go about this very carefully, work with the congress, and make good due
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diligence decisions. >> can -- should pay increases, for example, that's an issue that's raised in the pentagon 1.4 increase. they got 1.9 is what congress gave them. and that costs money. do you have to have -- caps on military pay for a while, or do you need to start cutting people? >> again, very, very important to send the right signal to our troops. they're in their ninth year of war and what the pentagon is proposing with the pay raise is the lowest pay raise in 48 years, even though according to their old standard we're still the military is still 2 1/2% behind civilian counterparts. people like ike skeleton in the congress, the chairman of armed services co, said no, this is not the time and they're proposing 1.9%. but as you know, the senate has a preliminary mark at 1.4%. we don't think that a couple hundred million dollars is going to wreck the bank at the
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pentagon and send the wrong signal to our troops at this time. >> in terms of tri-care payments, that's been frozen for the last 15 years roughly, in 1995 level. don't -- gates and the pentagon are saying military members have to pay more for their medical care. >> yes. >> why shouldn't they? >> it's a good question. and what we would like to do is -- it's a question better, they tend to ease this harsh language that we have an increased the payments as you said in over 10 years. but what they forget is that in the year 2000, the joint chiefs came to the congress and said, look, we've walked way from this commitment of health care for those that have served and sacrificed, we're hurting we need to fix that. the congress fixed it, they turned around their hat it started complaining about it. these are the same folks with the wear and tear. what they can do and what the military association supports
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is first, have secretary gates who is too busy to do this himself, he is running the war magnificently. along with the community chief and our head leaders. but what we need to do is first find out what efficiencies can the defense department find? i testified four years ago and gave a list of 14 things starting with one -- pharmacy. dod pharmacy spent $7.5 billion lasts year on prescriptions for those serving and retired. if they could just get 50% of those that used their local pharmacy, cvs or wal-mart, to either go to the base pharmacy or use the home delivery system we have, we could save a couple billion dollars out of that 7 1/2. if they would work a little harder on that, that's a good way to start saving money. another way in the health care area is we'd like to see them your chief of staff in the air force talked about, when you're looking at how to save costs on personnel, how about flattening the structure? we have three different
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services, all with pyramids. we have three different contractors running the civilian tri-care program. tremendous amount of inefficiencies at the top of duplication. so those are just some ideas. but once then do that, what we're saying is military people just want to acknowledge that you can't as a secretary say civilians have paid 3200 military paying 1200, without forgetting the military has paid most of their premium up front in decades of service and sacrifice. just like over 500,000 have done in iraq and are now leaving. as they go, you can't say kick them out the door and say you are used to us now. so you have to be careful about the language. if you do all those things, we say go ahead and increase the fees, but no greater than at the cost of living for the members. >> sir, thank you very much. we would love to have a back. how did a colonel turn the tide of the
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in the spring of 2006, the iraqi city of ramadi had a bad reputation, one of largest cities and also in the so- called sunni triangle it it was a sanctuary to al-qaeda which brazenly claimed the city as its capital. the job of winning back the city without alienating the city fell on then colonel sean mcfarland. what happened next stabilized iraq and fug the a weakening baghdad. joining me is jim michaels, usa today reported and former marine corps officer. his new book a chance in hell,
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the men who triumphered and turned the tide of war is on -- bookshelves. jim, thank you very for joining us. thank you. >> so what sean mcfarland did was revolutionary in terms of changing the conflict. where do you get the idea and what did he dough when he arrived with the first brigade team? >> you know, he partly got the idea from tal far with some tactics were being used, and back then this was before the surge, before everything started turning around, there were isolated pockets where various commanders were trying, experimenting with some of the tactics which later became prevalent under the surge in 2007. but he really took almost a 180- degree turn from what others were doing, and what the prevailing strategy are gee was, and if you recall, it was basically let's move u.s. troops out, turning things over to the iraqis, security forces as quickly as possible. he set up combat outposts, and he pushed very hard into areas
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that had been al-qaeda strong holds, but critically he teamed up with a group of tribes, starting with a guy name sheikh i tar, in 2006, before it was really our strategy per se to team up with these tribes. >> they were attacking american troops as well. >> they at times were insurgents, yes. >> so why did it take so long? now you look at interviews and you realize that a lot of folks even after 2003 invasion, were saying look, this is a problem, why did it take so long to change? why did it take three years for folks to go, there's a different way to skin this cat? >> it's a great question and i'm not sure it's totally answerable. i found remarkable there were little pockets of areas, almost an entrepreneurialal war where people were trying different things with varying levels of success. but they weren't bubbling up. there was a prevailing wisdom from washington down that we'll
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do it one way, and so a lot of these experiments with what will bottom up ended up not bubbling up or being repressed over the years. >> what does this tell us about change? right now there's a great national debate obviously about afghanistan. in 2006 iraq was consideredly and the politically, there's no way to overcome this. yet it was. what were some of the lessons amicable to afghanistan. >> iran happened so rapidly. ramadi, they got there in 2006. by the fall of that year, well before the insurgent, you could see things turning. it wasn't filtering back to washington. it was always a six or seven- month time line before anything filtered back. in afghanistan, the key is you don't just take what happens in iraq and go to afghanistan but you do take the principles that were learned there in ramadi and sort of distill them down upon afghanistan. one is local. it's not so much a tribal
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strategy, as much as developing local security and finding the local important people that could have an impact on the local level. >> let me take into 30 seconds we have left. you you've within to iraq 20 times, you've gotten back recently had is the outlook and will this unravel as u.s. troops reduce their presence in the country? >> no one knows for sure. but i don't think it will unravel. the eye and iraqis have looked into the abyss and don't want to do it again. and i think the reality is forward moment up going on there. i think there's a lot of obstacles in the way, chief among them they don't have a government yet more than six months after the election. but i think there will be pits and starts but over the long haul will be progress. >> let's hope you're right, jim. thank you very much for joining.
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like new cruise missiles, electronic attack planes and a new bomber, even slow conventional bombers from proven their flexibility critics say they're outmoded and formidable future air defenses require new standoff missiles. one issue is no one wants another b-2 that costs $2 billion apiece. the new plane must be affordable to function function as part of a family of strike systems. but it must be able to operate over vast distances and against the sophisticated defenses to deliver its payloads with precision. these attributes constitute its deterrent value against countries like china developing systems they believe will insulate themselves from future possible attacks. sadly, of the air force's 5500
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aircraft, only 162 are bombers and only 20 of those are stealthy. as long as u.s. strategy demands that well defended threats be continually tracked and when necessary attacked, quickly and precisely, america can't afford to rely exclusively on short range strike fighters. as it has since its inceptions, the air force needs a bomber capable of deterring and striking. gates must allow them to develop one as soon as possible. thanks for joining us for "this week in defense news." i'm vago muradian. watch this program online or you can e-mail me. i'll be back next week at the seem time. until then, have a great week.
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